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Lions Roar : January 2009
SHAMBHALA SUN JANUARY 2009 90 human condition. True connection comes when we breathe the aching fear of loss into the center of our chests and simply let it be there, no matter how uncomfortable we might feel. Once we truly learn to reside in our fear of aloneness, we will no longer expect those close to us to assume respon- sibility for taking away our fear or making us feel good. Instead we will know reality; we will know love. Facing our aloneness and fears exposes our deepest attachments, leaving us with- out the false props of our illusions. Al- though this can be painful, the good news is that mindfulness practice can help make it less so. The melodrama doesn’t have to take over, and instead we can begin to see through what we are most attached to. Am I attached to Elizabeth? Absolutely! In fact, one of the things that has become clear to me since I heard she had breast cancer is how I’ve held the belief that I can’t be happy without her. So her diagnosis helped me to realize the degree of my attachment—to her, to her good health, to our life together. This situation has given me an opportunity to look more deeply. Aren’t our difficulties al- ways our best teacher, taking us to the places we will rarely go on our own? As I’ve watched my mind, it’s become clear that thoughts such as “I need Elizabeth to be happy” are thoughts based on self- centeredness and fear. And it’s become clear that every one of these thoughts prevents me from really being with Elizabeth, be- cause they’re not about her, but about me. Practice helps us accept our feelings of groundlessness and disconnection and leads us to become more willing to feel and reside in our fears—our fear of the loss of control, our fear of the loss of the familiar. Residing in our fears without do- ing what we usually do to get rid of them is what erodes our attachments and helps us see through our illusions—the illu- sions that we have endless time or that we can make life go the way we want. How can we face these fears directly? First we must be willing to drop the story line—the thoughts that the spinning mind keeps churning out. Once we decline to in- dulge thoughts like “This is awful,” “I can’t handle this,” or “Poor me,” the melodrama Zen Clocks awaken yougracefully, with a gradually increasing ten-minute progression of acoustic chimesor gongs— they make waking up in the morning an exquisiteexperience. The natural wood clocks’ acoustic chimes or gongs also serve as aesthetically sophisticated timers for spiritual practice, and they canbeset to strike on thehour, serving as tools for “mindfulness.” Onceyou useaZen Clock, nothing else will do.Designedin Boulder, Colorado,by Now&Zen. (800)779-6383 WWW.NOW-ZEN.COM New Bamboo the mountain seat Developed by monastics at Zen Mountain Monastery in conjunction with physicians and physiotherapists The most comfortable cushion you will ever use Traditional design Modern orthopedic technology Stabilizing buckwheat base Viscoelastic foam top layer Molds to the shape of your body Encourages correct alignment Handcrafted cushions in 3 sizes Please call us for assistance The Monastery Store 845-688-7993 www.dharma.net/monstore dharma communications *US Patent Pending